THE EXPERTS AMONG US – AN OBSERVATION
Posted by Andrew Roman on February 18, 2010
Today, the media is bristling with stories about how jobless claims have risen “unexpectedly.”
Befuddled “experts” are scrambling to try and figure it all out.
Excuses, reasons and rationalizations are being crafted in an attempt to explain it all.
Is there yet an expert or an analyst – particularly those of the anonymous variety who are regularly referenced in newspaper and magazine articles – who actually earns their weight in gold? Who are these “experts” – these learned and accomplished faceless specialists of specificity who somehow find their way into so many news stories? How are they found? And who made them experts in the first place?
They won’t turn up in every news story, of course – the local bank robbery, the four car pile-up on the thruway, the opening of a new discount chicken wing place. These stories don’t necessitate the input of “experts.”
However, when the monthly unemployment numbers are released by the Labor Department, the “experts” suddenly appear. When consumer spending figures are made public, “experts” seem to jump out of the woodwork. When the number of new home sales for the previous month hits the news wire, you can’t swing a three-legged muskrat without smacking an “expert.”
We’re up to our pie charts in “experts.”
Yet, for all the times they are called upon to lend perspective, context and clarity to any given news story, these “experts” always seem to be wrong or caught by surprise.
Have you noticed this?
It almost never fails.
When statistics of some kind become newsworthy, there isn’t a group of “experts” or “analysts” around who aren’t confounded.
“Jobless claims rose by almost one percentage point last month, less than what experts had predicted.”
-“The number of loans approved for house purchases fell in April by nearly 13%, more than experts had expected, marking the fourth consecutive monthly drop.”
-“Experts were surprised to see such a significant boost in the number of cars sold last month.”
-“Despite predictions by experts and analysts, the number of first-time home buyers jumped dramatically.”
How exactly did these people become experts? And how is it, day after day, month after month, they continue to be called upon by news agencies for their insights and analyses when they never seem to get anything right?
Either the word “expert” is due for a makeover or reporters need to consult a different set of people.
Were there no “experts” available anywhere who predicted anything correctly?
And if there were, how would we know anyway? Without a score card or program, how can any of us non-aficionados tell one “expert” from another?
Now, to be fair about this, there are, indeed, instances when one will come across something in a newspaper or magazine like, “Experts Say Global Warming Predictions Are Coming True” or “Experts Predicted Recession Two Years Ago.”
Compelling, yes – for about half a nano-second – until one realizes that neither of these examples are quite convincing.
In the case of the former, the assertion is a hoax based on leftist hysteria and a compliant, brainwashed media complex. Funding-hungry scientists play a huge role, too. Without a looming disaster hanging over the heads of humanity like grim death, the money dries up.
The moment there is concrete scientific evidence of any kind that human activity is not only causing temperatures across the globe to rise, but putting the planet in imminent (or any) peril, please let me know.
My e-mail “inbox” is always open to you. I’ll leave the light on for you – an incandescent one at that!
In the case of the latter, the broken clock theory comes into play – that is, even a broken clock will be correct twice a day.
I can say “a recession is coming” until I’m blue in the face. At some point I will be correct.
With that said, please don’t misunderstand me.
There obviously are experts in given fields – and most often, when those experts are called upon, they are often referenced by name.
-“Dr. So-and-So, Head of Blah-Blah-Blah Studies at the University of Anywhere, says the downward trend is expected to continue.”
-“Johnny Q. Expert, renowned something-or-other-ologist at the Whatever Institute, in a published article from last November, predicted the current collapse of the potato chip market.”
Those instances are not the ones I’m talking about here. It’s the catch-all, generic strand of unidentified, never-seem-to-be-right newspaper article “experts” that I’m writing about. I can’t help but wonder if these are the same groups of people that the White House press corp kept harkening to when George W. Bush was in the White House. Remember? Only then they weren’t “experts.” They were regularly referred to as “critics” or “many” or “some.”
-“Critics say you are making America unsafe with your Iraq policy.” -“Many are saying that you aren’t doing enough for the eldery, Mr. President.” -“According to some, you are a bumbling, God-happy, gun-loving Texas yokel.”